Sons of Norway hear stores of the motherlandWhen she arrived this fall, Lisa Sørum, 16, was surprised by how similar northeastern Minnesota is to her home in Norway.
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
When she arrived this fall, Lisa Sørum, 16, was surprised by how similar northeastern Minnesota is to her home in Norway.
“It’s not very different,” she said last week during her presentation at the Sons of Norway dinner in Two Harbors.
Then, Christmas rolled around. She was astounded by the holiday spirit displayed in her adopted home, particularly by the huge, belighted Christmas tree at the intersection of Superior Street and Lake Avenue in Duluth. For comparison, she showed a picture of the city Christmas tree in her hometown of Alta, Norway. It was small, misshapen and partially bald, with a string of lights haphazardly draped across its branches.
“Let’s just say, we don’t go overboard,” she said. In fact, she added, the tree was named Norway’s ugliest Christmas tree that year.
Sørum, an exchange student, was asked to speak at the annual Sons of Norway Christmas dinner for obvious reasons. Although many members of the Sons of Norway have close ties to the country and many have visited, Sørum still calls it home. Her presentation detailed her family’s Christmas traditions as well as background about her hometown, located in the northernmost county of Norway above the Arctic Circle.
David Fagrell, 17, also presented at the dinner. He’s from Gothenburg, Sweden and is a student at Two Harbors High School this year. His presentation detailed the traditional Christmas celebrations of Sweden--namely, the gift tags on their presents under the tree. The giver will traditionally write a rhyme hinting at what is in the package for the recipient. Fagrell said he’s enjoying his time in Two Harbors so far, and even got the chance to try American football.
“I had bruises all over, but it was fun,” he said.
The Sons of Norway held its annual Christmas dinner at the Two Harbors Community Center, with close to 70 folks attending.
The organization has a rich history in the community. Norwegian immigrants began meetings in 1902, five years before Two Harbors was officially a city. It became a charter of the official Sons of Norway fraternal organization in 1923, but President Ralph Jacobson said the group is not only for people of Norwegian descent.
“We are Scandinavians, and we’re just here to have a good time together,” he said.
At the Christmas dinner, the club gained 11 new members and raised close to $200 for the Salvation Army. Their next meeting, featuring a presentation about Leif Erickson by Randy Ellestad, will be January 13 at 2 p.m. at the Two Harbors Community Center. Those interested in joining Sons of Norway may attend the next meeting or call Jacobson at 834-4584.